Did on-call’s refusal to provide consult lead to loss of testicle?
Timely torsion diagnosis, orchidopexy could have saved testicle, medical expert argues
LEGAL PERSPECTIVE: In medical malpractice cases, a medical expert witness is required to offer an opinion that the medical care in question was below the accepted standard and caused injury to the patient. Most states allow discovery and deposition testimony of expert witnesses prior to trial, but in a few states the expert witness’ identity and opinion are announced at trial.
In some states, a medical expert witness statement must be submitted in order to file a lawsuit. In this case, the patient went to an attorney and an expert urologist opinion was obtained. The urologist opined that the original urologist on call had deviated from the standard of care when he refused to come to the hospital and examine the patient. The expert stated that testicular torsion is a clinical diagnosis made by history and physical examination, and the average qualified urologist should have been competent to diagnose the torsion by physical exam alone.
He also opined to a reasonable medical certainty that had the urologist complied with the standard, he would have confirmed the presence of the testicular torsion and done an orchidopexy in a timely manner, and these actions possibly could have saved the patient’s testicle. The parties reached the settlement agreement prior to the filing of a lawsuit.
Delayed prostate cancer diagnosis
An 80-year-old South Carolina man was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013. He had undergone two prostate biopsies performed by his urologist prior to 2010. Both of the biopsies were reported as negative for cancer. A third biopsy result reported the cancer had metastasized. He underwent treatment for the cancer but died in 2015.
Prior to his death, the man filed a lawsuit against the urologists involved and their group, alleging that a biopsy should have been done in 2010, at which time the cancer would have been diagnosed earlier and he would have undergone successful treatment.
The urologists argued that all treatment provided was appropriate and within the standard of care, and the jury returned a defense verdict.